Impact Publications : MiceBTN_62
Page 8 • MICEBTN - FEBRUARY 2016 comment We have a dynamic industry that delivers for those with vision CHANGE is one of those words you can use positively, disparagingly, quizzically...whatever. And like statistics it can vary between hard facts and porkies. But despite the old French cliché about ‘things remaining the same the more they change’ it that just isn’t true. Our industry is a shining example that change can be massive, hard-hit- ting, seismic... . whether driven by technological advances, shifts in life- style patterns or the continuing evolution of corporate cultures. look back 30 years: Retail travel agents seemingly in every city street and scattered throughout the suburbs, the internet the preserve of a geeky few who were finding their way slowly towards today’s treas- ure-house, mobile phones basic in capabilities and not even in widespread use. Uber and Airbnb unheard of. That’s all changed. For the community as a whole, and undoubtedly for the better: Who other than a few reactionaries would eschew the internet, the smartphone, apps for almost every purpose? the not-so -good: Retail travel agents who fell away one by one as cus- tomers become more confident using the internet for bookings and the evolution of secure, user-friendly and accurate online booking systems. Then some agents began to specialise in top-end areas such as incen- tives, corporate travel, conferences, the cruise market, adventure or even wellness. For the most part they prospered. Others sold out to chains and went with the power of a heavily-marketed brand. Many left the industry, bewildered and disheartened. Industry dynamics continued. They do so still today and will tomorrow. It’s been a challenge but the tough and the innovative are still writing good business. That business is different and will be ever more so - the scope is potentially limitless. PCOs, for example handled almost all accommodation for conferences and other events as recently as 10 years ago. Even five years ago it was still a major source of income. Now as many as a third of clients want to do their own bookings via Airbnb or other online providers. They’ll probably use Uber for airport transfers and maybe fly on a low cost carrier if left to their own devices. Smart PCOs have built a new role in this changing environment, one where they work with others – the client and its constituents, carriers, DMCs, the destination marketing agency, national and regional tourism organisations, transport operators – to determine how they can contrib- ute to overall success by cooperating for the good of all. Social media has been put to good use to demonstrate subtly how the PCO can add cohesive value to the experience, encouraging participants to become involved as partners rather than fragment to follow their individual options. As terrorism and health threats loom there is potential for the PCO – and the corporate agent or incentive house – to provide the reassurance of dependable insurance and secure travel, along with advice and support not likely to be forthcoming from a booking website. Change is with us but change also brings opportunities. - Kelvin King NZ’s Meetings opens buyer applications BUYER applications are now open for New Zea- land’s Meetings exhibition run by Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) and to be held in Auckland this June. As part of the program, as many as 100 host- ed buyers from Australia will have the opportu- nity to join one of eight regional familiarisation tours around New Zealand on the weekend before Meetings plus a hosted Auckland famil- iarisation day experience on 14 June. More than 300 day buyers are expected during the two-day event as well as 100 New Zealand event organisers who will be hosted in Auckland for two days. The show’s appointment scheduling system uses the latest on-line technology for efficient appointment planning. Buyers can select exhib- itors they most want to meet, making the best use of everyone’s time. “Buyers tell us they enjoy the atmosphere of our appointment program, with five minute breaks between appointments plus morning and afternoon tea breaks, all day coffee and tea and exceptional networking and familiarisation events,” said Sue Sullivan, chief executive CINZ. Final applications for exhibitor bookings close on 28 March, and hosted buyer applications close on 18 April. For more information and to apply to attend CINZ Meetings 2016 go to www.meetings.co.nz Last year ’s Meetings event in Auckland ...